We have an excellent foundation from which to grow our business, particularly in our people and the strong culture of diversity in the organisation.”Alberto Calderón
Chief Executive Officer
AngloGold Ashanti has been in existence as a focused, independent gold company since 1998, and we will continue to build the business well into the future. Sustainability is, therefore, fundamental to how we operate.
We always endeavour to work responsibly, in a manner that is fair and respectful of our employees and communities, and the environments in which we live and work. We view our ESG performance as a crucial underpin to the broader financial and operational success of our business, and our ability to generate value for all of our stakeholders.
Even prior to joining the Company as CEO, I was aware of AngloGold Ashanti’s proud tradition of corporate citizenship across its operating jurisdictions and the capital markets on which it is listed. I’m pleased to report that my experience in the subsequent months has validated this reputation as I’ve witnessed the commitment that so many of my new colleagues have to honouring the Company’s values in the course of discharging their duties.
There are times when we fall short. Tragically, two of our colleagues died in the course of their work in 2021. Carlos Machado Barbosa lost his life in an accident at our Serra Grande Mine in Brazil in February and Daniel Nuertey-Kwao Quaynortey, a contractor with African Underground Mining Alliance, lost his life in May after a geotechnical event at Obuasi in Ghana.
I extend my own heartfelt condolences – and those of every one of my colleagues – to the families and friends of those who passed away. This is a time for us as leaders to reflect and to take concrete steps to ensure that these events are not repeated. Aside from the specific steps related to addressing these incidents, we have also revitalised our safety strategy and introduced a three-year work plan to ensure its implementation, focusing on leadership and people, work processes, technology, innovation and risk management.
NEW OPERATING MODEL
The ESG objectives of this, and any other, company are moot if the overall viability and health of the company are not assured. To ensure that AngloGold Ashanti thrives over the long term and improves its performance for the benefit of all stakeholders in all environments, we have overhauled our corporate structure and implemented a new Operating Model.
This new model has empowered our operations with the resources and functional expertise necessary to consistently deliver their production plans safely, responsibly and on budget. We have clarified the mandates of our corporate functions to sharpen their focus on developing the appropriate business strategies and vision, to define the policies, standards and enterprise-wide frameworks for their disciplines. We have further mandated our corporate functions to provide assurance to the board and executive – and to me – that these policies, standards and enterprise-wide frameworks for their disciplines are complied with by the operations. Support from centrally performed activities will be based on scale, risk and the potential to add value.
In short, this model aims to ensure that accountability is clearly apportioned, and that each activity undertaken by the Company will advance our strategy, improve our operating performance and strengthen our social license to operate. It will ensure we provide clear strategic direction, have fit-for-purpose policies and standards, and that the right people are in place to deliver on our ESG objectives.
We have an excellent foundation from which to grow our business, particularly in our people and our strong culture of diversity. For a global company, with more than 30,000 employees (including contractor employees) across four continents, the promotion of diversity is not an academic exercise, but rather a strategic matter allowing us to build a business that better represents the societies in which we operate, and to ensure we can attract the best talent available.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Framework ensures our Group objectives are aligned to foster the empowerment of all staff, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. This is important but meaningless unless we continue to promote what is perhaps our most important value, which is to treat each other with dignity and respect – always.
I’m heartened by how this culture is manifested across our Company, but am also mindful that we can never take this for granted. The culture survey conducted toward the end of 2021 will be an important reference point for us as we analyse its findings and embed its learnings to improve the way we engage and collaborate with one another in pursuit of our goals
Our employees have shown great commitment and perseverance – particularly amid the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside our partners in governments and communities, we have been delivering medical supplies and promoting vaccines, while also backing initiatives to support education and economic growth in communities.
We have programmes to promote local procurement and employment, and to continue improving the mining skills base in the countries in which we operate. Converting mineral wealth into human capital and sharing benefit through the value chain is at the heart of empowering local communities, to benefit long after our Ore Reserve is depleted.
In 2021, our operations spent approximately $2.61bn with
suppliers, of which $2.4bn was spent locally. Geita mine
contributed to capacity building of its host communities by
partnering with the National Economic Empowerment Council
of Tanzania to encourage the participation of Tanzanians in the
procurement of local goods and services in mining. More than 300
local businesses have been trained and we are seeing increased
participation of local vendors in bidding and tender processes.
Geita mine increased annual local spend from $145m in 2020 to
$375m in 2021. Ghana’s annual spend increased from $114m in
2020 to $471m in 2021. Read further on local community spend under Contributing to resilient, self-sustaining communities.
RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
AngloGold Ashanti was one of the first companies to set climate targets, long before it was in vogue. Total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions have been cut by 69% since our 2007 base year through a combination of efficiency gains, energy switching, asset closures and sales. We’re proud of this achievement, but we recognise there is more to do.
In 2021, we developed a new Climate Change Strategy and presented our first Climate Change Report, which details our holistic approach to dealing with the risks and opportunities that come with changing weather. We also provided our full commitment to the ICMM’s target of net zero Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2050 or sooner, and are now putting the finishing touches on a 2030 target for reduced Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions.
Tailings management is another existential matter for mining companies, and our practices are based on robust oversight and assurance, standards aligned with industry best practice, and decades of institutional experience. We have committed to implementing the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) at all facilities by August 2023. The balance of tailings storage facilities (TSFs) will be completed by August 2025. The tailings management team has also developed a compliance protocol that aims to achieve compliance with the bulk of the GISTM’s requirements in 2022.
In many ways, 2021 was a seminal year globally, a highlight being the development and roll out of COVID-19 vaccines, allowing for the return to a semblance of normality. It was a year in which gold, as a commodity, demonstrated its resilience, and a year where the role of companies in driving change became evermore necessary and apparent. For AngloGold Ashanti, it was also a significant year – a year of reflection and change – with the introduction of our new Operating Model. Its implementation will lead to a more streamlined company and we – and our stakeholders – will see the benefits.